Sunday 7 September 2008

"We're Porters Through and Through!"

(In Loving Memory of Rik Clay)

I guess by now you’ll all be thinking I’m a bit bigheaded. “What a conceited sod that Ben is! Strutting around like that, posing in his uniform.” Well in a way you’d be right. I’m a bigheaded Hospital Porter, an arrogant tradesman! But I’m not bigheaded in the sense that I think I’m better than anyone else. I don’t believe I’m worth more than any other human being; I just don’t believe I’m worth any less. I think I’ve unknowingly created this image of myself as a persona that is meant to be a kind of satire of other arrogant tradesmen, simply because Hospital Portering is not meant to have them. It’s fine to be arrogant if you’re a celebrity (See: or in the forces (See:, and this satirical self-character I’ve created is a reaction to this elephant-in-the-living-room double-standard that is blindly accepted and rarely questioned. I suppose I want people to ask the question: Why, oh why is it different if you’re a Hospital Porter, or cleaner, dustman or in any of the other so-called “lowly” jobs? (See: Why are there even such things as “lowly” jobs as opposed to “non-lowly” ones? As I explain in the above article, the reactions I get from people vary from ridicule to rejection to hostility and even violence: “But you’re only a Porter! What do you mean you’re ‘proud’!? Hang your head and bow your shoulders in shame! Do it! NOW!... Please! You have to for my sake! Don’t you know what you’re doing to me!? You’re making my whole worldview fall apart! I have to reassess everything now!”

(By the way, if any female HPANWO readers find it impossible to resist me after seeing me in my uniform then, although I know it’s understandable, you’re only human after all, I’m afraid I only accept offers from ladies willing to accept me for the person that I am, not the Conformist image I project… Even if that image is “alternative Conformist!” Form an orderly queue, if you’ll excuse the pun. And no pushing in!)

(Disclaimer: The photographs in this article are not official publications of the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust, nor any of its partners, contractors or clients.)


Michael Skaggs said...

Way to go Ben! I hear you loud and clear bro, another "system in place" for those [dare I say the term] "elites" to elevate themselves over us, but like your stating here, don't give them any power by cowering down to them, your just as important here on Earth as anyone else. This is the major problem I have with our global society and our leaders...

Our leaders are mostly Eugenicists,
Futurists, or Singulartarians, take your pick they all are one in the same...where are the ethics? I don't see them around when they are deciding who is more important than the next person..and it has trickled its way down into the common man/woman where we judge simply by someone's career/job or beliefs, absolutely absurd. People see it on the television in forms of arrogance, in socially engineered societal terms [meaning if your not "in fashion" or "in the bling" your "not worthy" or some such b.s.]. Hold your head high, because your the only one that can give yourself the pride you carry, bullocks to anyone else who judges a person by their job or income level!

Be well!

Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

Thanks for those very encouraging words, Michael! Glad you liked the artile.

Yes, I believe that the "document folder" of every person's life has a file marked "Heresy". For a scientist this could be God, for a dogmatic religious-believer this could be skeptical-rationalism. Whatever it is, I believe that it it necessary to explore it. In fact this is in the interest of the mind and is even its DUTY! If this Heresy file becomes a millstone around the neck of personal fullfillment and sanctity of being, dragging a person into Conformism, then mere exploration of it is not enough. One must actually PRACTICE ones heresy!

Alex Robinson said...

Absolutely bloody loved that Ben.

It seems ages ago that I read your 'Don't Tell'em We're Porters' & it really helped me when I was thinking I'm only an office worker how can I think I've got anything to say.

The most powerful changes in my life have often come from people speaking clearly from the heart - So THANKS!

Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

Hi WW. I'm really glad that article inspired you. Thanks. I think it's my favourite; I've even put a link to it in the mission statement on the "Voice". I'm glad you feel like you're not ONLY an office worker and more. Nobody is ONLY and anything!

NT said...

Hello Ben!

I left a comment earlier on "Don't Tell 'Em We're Porters...", where I talked about also having a "low" job by society measures, but I love it anyway. We don't have the hospital profession in Sweden, so first on the picture I thought you we're dressed up as a police officer :)! But actually you didn't have to wear anything special on that picture. Do you know why? Because on that picture the first the thing I noticed was pride! This is a man proud of himself and his profession! That's what shines through! Regards, Nicky

Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

Thanks, nicky. I do feel proud to be a porter and that is my necessary heresy! :-)

I like the current uniform, but I do miss the traditional pop-stud jackets. They were phased out soon after I joined in 1989. I've got an old one at home and it's a treasured possession! But I don't fit into it these days!